Gershon Legman (November 2, 1917 – February 23, 1999) was an American cultural critic and folklorist, best known for his books The Rationale of the Dirty Joke (1968) and The Horn Book: Studies in Erotic Folklore and Bibliography (1964).
Legman was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania to Emil and Julia Friedman Legman, both of Hungarian-Jewish descent; his father was a railroad clerk and butcher.
After a failed stab at rabbinical school Legman attended and graduated from Scranton’s Central High School, where Jane Jacobs and Cy Endfield were classmates. He enrolled in the University of Michigan for one semester in the fall of 1935, but left without sitting for his exams. He then settled in New York City where for a number of years he was a part-time freelance assistant to the physician and sexological researcher Robert Latou Dickinson at the New York Academy of Medicine while simultaneously working in the bookshop of Jacob Brussel, where a brisk business was done in publishing and selling contraband erotica; while spending long hours at the New York Public Library acquiring an autodidactic education. In the late 1940s he became the editor of the little magazine Neurotica.